Earth Day for Pets: How to Celebrate Responsibly

FCC noticeIt’s Earth Day! Now, we have to be responsible because the Earth is the only place that has dogs and cats. Am I right? So how will you make Earth Day for pets a fun celebration? Shadow-Pup, Karma-Kat and I are encouraging everyone to do their part to help take care of this gorgeous planet we share.
earth day for pets

Dogs have very different ideas how to celebrate Earth Day for Pets. Have a hot-diggidy-dog? Build him a sandbox for legal excavation. Or let him help while you garden.

 🌏 🌲 🍃 Today, Shadow and I plan some gardening fun. And, I have a nifty new pet stroller so Karma-Kat will get to roll through the backyard to check out the sniffs. He’d like to become an adventure cat, so that’s a fun first paw-step.
I now receive an amazing amount of email “pitches” about every product you can imagine delighting your special cat and doggy buddy. While I simply don’t have time to write about them all, some stand out, so I wanted to share a few.

Earth Day for Dogs: Toys, Treats, and Fun

Squishy chewy puzzle toy!

I’ve loved the Planet Dog Orbee Tuff toys for years. These dog toys not only make dog tails wag with delight, they’re Earth Day friendly and use only recycled materials. Three of my dogs have played with the same Planet Dog toys–they last that long. I love this Snoop Treat puzzle toy–and it comes with free shipping from Chewy.

Be sure that your dog doesn’t over-do the exercise. The temps here in Texas get toasty. So for those extra hot days I plan to check out this new Petralyte Electrolyte beef flavored supplement for dogs. Think Gatorade but designed by veterinarians.

Shadow sez, “What about TREATS?” Have I got an Earth Day dog treat for y’all! Every hear of Jiminy Cricket? There’s now a dog treat company, called Jiminy’s, that uses an earth friendly protein source…crickets! Before you say “ew” and turn up your nose, remember the kinds of things your dog naturally munches. Heck, my cat loves crickets, too. The company has an entire line of cricket-protein dog treats, perfect for dogs with food sensitivities, and sustainable for the good of the earth. Learn more about Jiminy treats here.

earth day for pets

Even indoor cats enjoy celebrating Earth Day, just be sure the celebration stays safe!

Earth Day for Cats: Toys, Treats, and Fun

Karma sez, “What about the Kat?” Yes, it can be a challenge for indoor-only cats to enjoy the great outdoors. Enriching your cat’s indoor environment goes a long way toward keeping your cat emotionally healthy, and physically fit. You can find a bunch of enrichment suggestions on this post — something as simple as cracking open a window can get kitty’s purr going! Or, offer some window-perching ops like this kitty shelf from K&H Pet Products (currently on sale at Chewy.
window shelf for cat

Give your cat a perch with a view for Earth Day.

Oh, and here’s another favorite for the cats in your life. I love the MAU brand because they use earth friendly materials cats love: sisal, real tree limbs, snuggly beds and cushions. And the luxury designs…oh meWOW! I’m saving up to get one of these for Karma-Kat.
MAU cat tree for earth day
My garden has started blooming, and my butterfly plants and hummingbird vines attract delightful creatures. I’m all for beneficial insects and critters but don’t particularly want them inside my house. I received information from Earthkind, a company that makes environmentally friendly and safe pest products. Always do your research before using such things. But I like the idea that Earthkind’s Stay Away repellents offer an earth first product. Learn more about them here.

Earth Day for People, Too!

Oh, and just an FYI, my husband and I got this nifty food composter several weeks ago (I was an early funder on their kickstarter). So we’re doing our part using Lomi, and feeding our garden better (while keeping the dog and cat table scraps to a minimum). Loving it so far–and they don’t have any sort of affiliate program, but did share this code 5J2O9IN2AC to get $48 off the unit (for one person only so swipe it quick!).

What can you commit to do to celebrate Earth Day for pets? Can you squeeze in an extra 15 minutes outside with your dog tossing the ball, or bring some leaves and buggy fun indoors for your cat’s enrichment? Set up bird feeders for viewing pleasure? Share in the comments your plans to celebrate #earthday.

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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers?  Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pets Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give-aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Pet First Aid Awareness Month: Pet First-Aid Audiobook Deal!

It’s national Pet First Aid Awareness Month. Those who follow this blog know I frequently post about the subject. One of my most popular books covers pet first aid in A-to-Z detail. To celebrate the book-birthday of the audiobook, I’ve discounted THE FIRST AID COMPANION FOR DOGS AND CATS from $16.75 to only $2.99 for this week only (4/17 –> 4/23), on these platforms:

I hope you NEVER need to use pet first aid on your furry wonders. But learning how to administer cat first aid or dog first aid literally means life and death for your pet.

Writing the Pet First Aid Book

Several years ago, I had the honor and privilege to interview more than 70 emergency veterinarians for my book THE FIRST-AID COMPANION FOR DOGS AND CATS. I’m humbled to have heard from many pet parents that the book’s information helped, and even saved cat and dog lives. Mee-WOW!

But pet first-aid and emergency care evolves, with improvements, new conditions identified, or even better techniques perfected. While the original print (and Ebook) texts continue to offer solid help to pet parents, I wanted to update the pet first-aid information with Fear Free Handling tips, and new information that has since come to light. While I pray you never need the information, this new audiobook format makes the pet first-aid veterinary advice available on-the-go, whenever and wherever you and your cats or dogs need it.

first aid audiobook

WHAT’S IN THE BOOK

“Amy Shojai has created the definitive 911 emergency guide for pets. Long recommended by vets and pet parents alike, now she’s updated the content in an audiobook format to make helping your pet—and saving his life anytime and anywhere—easier than ever before. Every cat and dog lover should have their vet on speed-dial, and this audiobook on their phone. Highly recommended!” — Dr. Marty Becker, internationally known veterinary expert and founder of fearfreepets.com & fearfreehappyhomes.com

Is there an animal doctor in the house? Most likely, the answer is no. And when an accident or other emergency threatens your pet, every minute counts. Don’t be unprepared! Listen to The First-Aid Companion for Dogs and Cats and learn:

  • Which over-the-counter human medications can help—or harm—your dog or cat
  • What to keep in your pet’s medicine chest in a downloadable PDF (many essential items are probably in your house already)
  • Basic first-aid techniques, such as cleaning a wound, making a splint, and updated CPR advice—step-by-step!
  • Fear free handling techniques to keep you safe and reduce your pet’s stress
  • How to quickly pinpoint what’s wrong with your pet, using the First-Aid Symptom Finder (Downloadable PDF)
  • Access the A-to-Z guide to more than 150 injuries and conditions, including: Abscesses, Bites from Animals, Car Accidents, Choking, Gunshot Wounds, Heatstroke, Hot Spots, Jellyfish Stings, Poisoning, and Snakebites

DOWNLOAD FIRST-AID ADVICE ON YOUR DEVICE!

Learn when to call the vet, which supplies or medications you’ll need, what immediate action you should take, and what you should do as follow-up care. The next time medical help is not quickly available, find lifesaving help with The First-Aid Companion for Dogs and Cats on your audiobook device. It’s a pet owner’s second-best friend.

So — have you ever needed emergency and/or first-aid pet care? What happened and what did you do? Please share!

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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers?  Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pets Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give-aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Pet Easter Dangers: Lilies, Chocolate, and Bunnies, Oh My!

Pet Easter Dangers

It occurred to me a roundup blog post made the most sense to put important information about Easter dangers for pets in one, easy-to-find location. I’m sure most dog and cat lovers know the basics. But this way, if y’all need to share information with new pet adopters, you’ll have one link. What do you think?

Besides, today is National Pet Day. How do you celebrate?

TOXIC LILIES

pet easter dangers

Keep lilies out of reach–or better yet, DON’T bring them in the house!

Easter lilies appear in yards, churches, nurseries, and even local flower aisles at the grocery story each spring, right in time for Easter. While the blooms look lovely and represent a wonderful Christian holiday to many folks, the plants are dangerous to pets. They are especially toxic to cats, and can kill your feline. She doesn’t even need to eat the plant–just drink water from the vase, or clean her claws after paw-scratching to play with the plant can cause problems. Learn more about Easter dangers from lilies in this post.

DOG CHOCOLATE DANGER

Dog chocolate danger happens year-round, but most especially during seasonal holidays. Chocolate Easter bunnies, chocolate eggs, and all kinds of chocolate indulgence fill kid’s Easter baskets with sweet treats. And while cats don’t tend to have a sweet tooth, dogs do. If your pooch finds the kid’s Easter candy first, you’ll be in for a long day of potential doggy diarrhea and vomiting (or worse!). Learn more about Easter candy danger to dogs in this post. 

DANGER TO BUNNIESpet easter dangersKNOW THE RABBIT FACTS

Bunny rabbits, especially baby bunnies, rank way up there on the cute factor. When Easter rolls around, all too often well-meaning folks want to “gift” living creatures to children. Now, a pet rabbit can be a delightful companion. But baby bunnies grow up, have specific needs, and aren’t disposable. Hey, I know you know that–or you wouldn’t be reading my blog! But other folks may give in to impulse, so here’s an article to help prepare the future bunny rabbit owner with what to expect.

Okay, y’all, what other Easter challenges have you faced? What else should be included in this round-up, do tell!

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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? NOTE: Some links to books or other products may be to affiliates, from which I may earn a small percentage of sales, but I do not recommend anything unless I feel it would benefit readers. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe to the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pets Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give-aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Pets Are Family: What Are the Most Important Relationships in Your Pet’s Life?

Your relationship with your pet may be one of the most important bonds in your life. They have an incredible influence on our health and wellbeing. Pets are family, and we can’t say that enough. Mine inspire my work daily, and keep me grounded.

But what about the relationships our pets have with people or other pets outside of our home? Here are 5 stars in your pets’ relationship constellation.

why vets take dogs to the back5 Important Pet Relationships (in Addition to You)

Their trusted veterinarian. 

Next to you, your pet’s vet may be the most important person in their life, so it’s vital that you cement that relationship with an annual checkup besides visiting when your pet doesn’t feel well. Karma-Kat finally doesn’t mind the vet chec…well, maybe a little. With the dogs, we regularly drop in to say “hi!” so vet visits aren’t always scary.

When Bravo-Dawg went through his cancer treatment, the veterinary staff not only supported him, they gave me a shoulder to lean on (and weep on). They help through the tough times but also celebrate the joy. One of the vet techs gave Shadow a squeaky toy as a “welcome to the family” gift.

Their experienced trainer or behaviorist. 

Your pet’s trainer is both their coach and therapist. Their relationship can be life-changing. They not only help you teach your pet how to navigate human expectations, but they are also there to answer fitness and behavioral questions throughout their life.

As a certified animal behavior consultant, much of my work focuses on helping YOU understand dog talk and cat talk. Most behavior problems are normal for your pet–and only a problem for humans. Understanding how to provide legal outlets for these behaviors–from play and barking, to scratching furniture or potty accidents–saves relationships and lives. Here’s how to find professional trainers and behavior pros. 

Their reliable pet sitter. 

Some pets grow to really love their pet sitter, whether they are a professional or your generous nearby neighbors. Not only do they go to great lengths to make sure your pet has loving company, food, water, and exercise, they make sure your home is safe and secure, too. When you choose a great pet sitter they become part of the family.

Shadow Bravo BonesTheir best furry friend. 

Humans are great! But for romping in the yard or curling up for a nap, some pets really enjoy the company of their own fuzzy kind. Shadow-Pup adored playing with Bravo, and now he and Karma-Kat tease each other like furry brothers. They have great fun romping and then snuggling together. If your pet craves companionship, call a fellow pet parent for a hike or a playdate. Or if there is room in your heart and your home, it may be time to adopt another pet as a full-time best friend.

Their doting Grand-pawrents. 

Let’s face it – if your parents love pets, chances are good your pet loves them, too. Even if the toy basket is stuffed full, family members love to bring treats or a new toy for the “grandpup” or “grandkitty.” I’m a pet lover because I was raised that way–with multiple dogs, and lots of time spent with Grandma’s critters. I live too far away for in “furr-son” visits, but Dad gets a huge kick out of hearing about Karma and Shadow’s antics. What about your folks? If they live close by, they may do double-duty as their pet sitter or walker, too!

Who are the people in your pet’s relationship circle? Friend, family, or professional, be sure to let them know how much you both appreciate their expertise, care, and affection. A note, text, or just a heartfelt “thank you” will say aloud what your pet can only articulate with a happy nudge and welcoming eyes.

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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Potty Training Puppies? Here’s How To House Train Puppies

Whether you have a tiny puppy, like when Shadow-Pup arrived, or a big old dawg — my Bravo (below) at one time tipped the scales at 120 pounds — potty training puppies keep your house hygienic and offers discipline and routine to our dog.

A new puppy brings great joy, but potty training puppies can lead to frustration. Puppy potty accidents start your relationship off on the wrong paw. Without the right training, he won’t know how to please you. He may not even know how to go potty on grass. Even older dogs can benefit from refresher training if they’ve had potty training lapses.

house training puppies

Don’t let that innocent look fool you — Bravo had his share of “whoops” messes!

House Train Dogs–Listen to Their Needs

When Magic came to live with us at 8 weeks, he already knew a potty word — “take-a-break” — and never had an accident in the house. His breeder did all the prep work for us, but of course, we still had to follow up. However, our Bravo-Boy had spent his whole 12-weeks of life outside on a ranch. He got to “go” when (and wherever) the urge struck. Oy.

Think of potty training from your puppy’s point of view. When he has to go, he won’t wait–he simply squats in place. He won’t understand why you’re always mad when you come home. If he’s punished but not shown what you want, he’ll think you don’t want him to potty at all. Rubbing his nose in it makes him wonder, “She want me to eat that stuff?” Punishing teaches puppies to potty when you’re not watching, or to hide deposits more carefully.

potty train puppies

Potty Train Puppies by Catching Him In The Act

Timing is key when teaching cause-and-effect. He won’t understand your anger has anything to do with the deposit he created five minutes ago. Unless caught in the act, or pointed out within 30-90 seconds, correcting the baby won’t work.

Instead, catch the pup in the act…of doing something right. Then throw a happy-dance praise party to tell him how smart he is! People work more eagerly for a bonus than a reprimand, and dogs are no different. Once he learns he gets paid to go in the right spot—positive reinforcement—he’ll virtually cross his legs to please you. 

Oh, and be sure to clean up the mess so the smell won’t draw him back to the scene of the crime. Here are some tips for cleaning up potty accidents.

house training puppies

Our new boy, Shadow, at 13 weeks old (estimate) does very well, but we still use the crate. He LOVES his crate because that’s where he’s fed and gets special treats. He’s a multi-sprinkler, too–pees multiple times, so he gets extra time outside. *s*

How to House Train Puppies: How Long Can He “Hold It?”

Pups need a bathroom break after every meal, nap, and playtime. Depending on his age and breed, feed him two to four or more times a day. Prevent potty accidents by anticipating when the puppy needs a break. Your pup has a baby-size bladder and limited capacity to “hold it” no matter his best intentions.

If you have puppy-friendly adult dogs, your puppy often will copy the adult dog’s behavior. So if your adult dog has good potty etiquette, that can speed up the process. Bravo helped me teach Shadow his cue-word to go to the bathroom: “Take A Break.” You’ll love having a cue word especially late at night, or during inclement weather! Learn about puppy intros to other pets here.

It can vary a bit between breeds with large and giant breeds having a bit more “storage” capacity and Toy breeds a bit less. Learn more about puppy development here. In general, here’s what to expect:

  • Two-month-old pups need a break about every two hours
  • Three-month-old pups can hold it for four hours.
  • Four-month-old pups can wait five hours
  • Five-month-olds can wait about six hours
  • Seven-month-old pups should be able to wait about eight hours.

8 Steps to Potty Training Puppies

Dogs can be potty trained at any age, but puppies learn much more quickly than adults. Puppies are so cute that owners forgive puppy-size accidents, but adult-size deposits aren’t cute and often lose the grown-up pet his home. Use these 8 puppy potty training tips to housebreak puppies and ensure he grows up to be the best friend he’s meant to be. Learn more about caring for your puppy in the book COMPLETE PUPPY CARE. 

  • Create a schedule. Base potty breaks on the pup’s age, activity level, and mealtimes.
  • Choose a location. Dogs rely on scent cues to remind them what’s expected. Whether you create an indoor toilet spot with newspaper, pee-pads or a doggy litter box, or select an outdoor potty, take him to the same place each time.
  • Concentrate on business. Keep him on leash until he’s productive, or he’ll only play and then have an accident inside. Take off the leash for a playtime as part of his reward for eliminating.
  • Name the deed. When he squats, say a cue word that identifies the action. I’m teaching Bravo the same “take-a-break” command that means to get down to business. It’s a bit less off-putting than saying “poop & pee” if your dog is in public. *s* Make sure your entire family uses the selected cue consistently. Once the puppy has been productive, reward with lots of praise, play or a tiny treat that doesn’t upset his regular nutrition.
  • Confine and supervise. Puppies don’t want to live up close and personal to their own waste, so confinement can be a great tool. A small room won’t work-he can poop in one corner and sleep in the other–and be sure you’ve puppy proofed the area to avoid danger. If the pup isn’t productive after fifteen minutes during a potty break, confine in a crate for fifteen minutes and then try again. If he potties in the crate, that confines the mess to an easily cleaned area. He’ll have to live with his mistake for a short time. The next time he’ll be more likely to empty when offered the opportunity. Alternatively, hook his leash to your belt so he can’t sneak away and do the dirty deed.
  • Watch for warnings. Puppies sniff the ground and walk in circles before they pose. If he squats inside, pick him up so he stops the process, and move him to the designated legal toilet area. Give your cue word, and praise when he’s successful in the right spot.
  • Clean accidents. Use an odor neutralizer to eliminate the smells that lure your puppy back to the scene of the crime. We also confine the new pet to an easily cleaned area of the house, using baby gates.
  • Roll up newspaper. When you find an accident, it means you’ve not paid attention to his needs. If you’re feeling really aggravated, don’t hold back. Roll up that newspaper—and hit yourself over the head with it, and resolve to do better next time. Just like puppies, owners take time and patience to learn important lessons.

Oh, and you can also trick train cats! Here’s how.

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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!